Careers Service

Combining work and study

The best rule is to only take on work which will not interfere with your academic commitments. On this page you will find guidance to help you combine work and study.

What you should try to do

  • Try to cut down work at exam times. This period can be especially stressful and working part-time might not be a good idea.
  • Take time to relax and unwind after work. Shift-work late in the evening may mean that you will need that extra bit of motivation to get up for your 9am lecture or stay behind for a late afternoon class.
  • Keep a record of your part-time work. It will be useful when constructing your CV or for deciding on references. You can also use your record for tax and National Insurance purposes.
  • Remember you are enrolled on a course of study and this should be your first priority. Continually missing classes and submitting work late or of poor quality will seriously affect your degree. Honours students in particular can find the balance between studying and working part-time difficult to achieve. It takes a lot of self-discipline to keep on top of your studies and hold down paid work.

Managing your time

If you are a full time undergraduate student the University recommends you do not work more than 15 hours per week. 

Full time, on campus, postgraduate taught students may also work up to 15 hours per week; this will depend on your course - speak to your course leader if you are unsure. 

The University will not employ full-time postgraduate research students for more than an average of 9 hours per week across the academic year, and recommends that postgraduate research students apply this limit to employment outside the University.  PhD students should discuss any proposed employment within the University or with any other employer with their principal supervisor. 

For resources and advice to develop your time management skills please search “Time Management” onMyDevelopmentHub.

Managing your time

What not to do

  • Don't fall into the trap of working during timetabled classes. If you are consistently missing lectures and tutorials because of your job then you will find yourself getting further behind and you'll have less time to catch up because you are working.
  • Don't be afraid to say 'no' to an employer. No employer should mind you refusing to work extra shifts if you are polite and reasonable about it.
  • Don't forget to tell your employer as soon as possible if you are unable to work, perhaps due to illness or an impending essay deadline. Employers can be sympathetic to the demands of your course if you discuss it with them in advance.

Further sources of help

If you find you are having to work excessive hours for reasons of financial hardship you may be entitled to money from the University Hardship Fund. Please visit The Advice Place or Student Administration for further information.

You can also speak to your Personal Tutor or another academic staff member if you are finding it difficult to combine the demands of work with study commitments.

Further information on the average 9 hours per week limit for PhD students